Rendering, physics and cloth improvements featured in Valve's latest tech

Valve details Source 2 engine in Dota 2 Reborn update

Valve has detailed a few of the new features in its Source 2 game engine following the beta release of Dota 2 Reborn, which is powered by the tech.

The new engine includes rendering improvements, performance optimisations, a new version of its physics and cloth systems and provides native OpenGL support.

Source 2 is capable of delivering more batches to the GPU, even on older versions of the OpenGL and Direct3D graphics APIs, which Valve said makes it easier to create more details worlds and more advanced characters. It also includes a new unified lighting system.

Valve noted that so far Dota 2 is only using a few of the new rendering features included in the engine, such as normal mapping on all types of geometry and multiple reflective water planes in the same scene.

The firm also said Source 2 has been built “to be capable of driving modern machines to their limits”. It can make use of all of a PC’s CPU cores, 64-bit OS and memory, and includes support for recent and upcoming graphics standards such as Direct3D 11 and Vulkan. It will also support virtual reality. Mac and Linux support for Dota 2 Reborn is expected in the coming weeks.

Other improvements made to Dota 2 thanks to the engine include reduced latency between issuing a command and seeing a hero react. New authoring tools in Dota 2 allows new maps to have “dramatically” different visual styles, while player’s with different custom terrains equipped will be able to play with others while seeing their own different version of a map.

No new details have been provided on a possible release date for Source 2 to developers.

At GDC earlier this year, Valve CEO Gabe Newell told Develop that the Source 2 game engine has two key design goals, to support virtual reality and players creating content for their favourite games. To that end, it hopes to make production as efficient as possible.

“There will be stuff in there, there will be tools,” he said. “There will be a tool in there that’s really useful for generating normals on textures. And if Epic Games says, ‘we like this tool’, and they want to ship it with theirs [Unreal Engine 4], that’s great. It’s really just available to anybody.

“All we’re doing essentially is we’re moving our investment forward and we assume we’re going to make our money on the back-end. And that’s the great thing about the PC, it’s going great and people are coming up with all these ideas, it’s where the action is.”

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